As Right as Reigns – Anarchy Reigns, the New Salvation for British Metal

How many false dawns the British metal scene has had over recent years? Time after time, it has fallen to the old campaigners to resurrect themselves from their crypts for yet another tour; another live album; another reissue. Ruinous for the fans financially, occasionally demeaning for acts who had pleadingly declared themselves retired and leaving a genre which once proudly waved a “new wave” banner looking sullenly at its shoes.

Anarchy Reigns may be the boot in the arse that British metal needs. Seemingly completely unfussed as to what public perception of them may be, they arrive in our lives as they do on stage – clad in full-length leather jackets, bearing disgruntled expressions and via a spaceship called New Dawn. If only two of those statements seem possible, rest assured all our true, lead Anarchist, Hitch, making his way onto stage at a recent gig on a Cyprus beach (!) in a manner that perhaps only Funkadelic’s George Clinton has before him. Is it ludicrous? Of course it is. Have you paid to be entertained? You’re welcome.

The Anarchy Reigns manifesto includes not just their music but their social media empire, which has amassed an extraordinary following, all eager to please their new master. By submitting their trivial acts of anarchy, they are supporting a much larger war Hitch is waging against the multitude of injustices that face the average Joe on the street, plus a few that he’s just narked about himself. Liars, the lead track off their forthcoming EP, is typical of their output – riff-heavy rock of an early 80’s vintage with an industrial edge to add an extra layer both onstage and in the studio. It’s accomplished without any rampant mould-breaking and, despite the political rants, it’s jolly good fun. Whether other bands follow Anarchy Reigns’ example remains to be seen, but so long as they stay the distance, we’re in safe hands.





Cholesterol Jones Takes the Fool by the Horns

Even though, by any stretch of the imagination, Satan’s in Heaven isn’t a full-on metal mosh-a-thon, we didn’t think twice about featuring it. The slightly gospel mantra that runs hypnotically throughout feels slightly like the brainwashing chants of a clandestine cult. Though it feels on the surface like a jolly sing-a-long ditty, there’s a strange melancholia that clings to the song – perfectly apt for a track which in the true traditions of satire takes aim at a subject and doesn’t let go. The subject is, naturally, His Grace Donald Trump and the failings of a democratic system which facilitated his rise to power. The false promise of the melody and bitter undercurrent mean the overall effect is far more satisfactory than someone just shouting abuse at the top of their voice.

Even more excitingly, the rest of the forthcoming EP is well worth a listen too. Bradford Street’s lullaby-like swoon is punctuated by lines like: “You used to have eyes/now it’s all turned black”; stand-out track, River Styx, is achingly sad without being mawkish or overtly self-pitying. He Claimed the Tree of Life feels a little too much like it’s re-treading ground already stomped upon. Nameless Dogs completes the set in appropriately grey-cloud fashion – in fact, the EP concludes at just the right point – there’s the sense that any more would tip the balance into some sort of indie-emo-folk mire. A great introduction though, well worth investigating.









“Pass the Hornucopian Dronepipe” – 10 Unusual Instruments in Pop

We’ve been much taken by the new release “In Bloom” by Brit abroad, Julia Mascetti, whose career as a freelance harpist has seen her perform not only her own songs in her adopted home of Tokyo but also video game themes and metal covers.

Here she is playing some Cradle of Filth:

Do you know what’s missing in the world? Peace? Love? Happiness? Fair guesses, but actually, the answer is flugelhorns. Our new hero Johann Sebastian Punk subscribes to our mindset entirely – we aren’t sure if there’s definitely one on this track but have a watch anyway.

There’s something strangely affecting about creaky old electronic keyboards and, for all the love mellotrons get, we’re very fond of an optigan, as was the much-missed Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse

The first and only time we will be sanctioning the use of bagpipes – blessed AC/DC and It’s a Long Way to the Top:

What’s that weird piece of forest litter Reg plays on “Wild Thing”? It’s an ocarina, innit!

For all Jimi’s outrageous talent on the guitar, would “Crosstown Traffic” be half the song with the kazoo?

Including Tom is a bit of a cheat really – nearly every track of his latter-day career has featured him bashing everything from bones to spice racks, but here’s a gem with some lovely bowed saw

There are a surprising number of glass instruments available, all of which have an utterly unearthly sound quite unlike anything else. Behold the glass harmonica on Pink Floyd‘s Shine on You Crazy Diamond

Throw your hats in the air for the band who based their entire career on their unusual instrument of choice. Roky Erickson’s 13th Floor Elevators use of the electric jug has never been matched

We weren’t 100% certain what a fully-fledged koto was, never mind a toy one but it can rarely have been used in a more epic setting than Queen‘s “Prophet’s Song”.